Circle 014: Edward I. Koch, City Decisions, May 4, 1979

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When Ed Koch of New York approached the podium at the Dunfey Family's New England Circle dinner, the guests, including seven lieutenant governors, applauded warmly.

Koch, a former congressman with twinkling eyes, said his inaugural pledge was still intact after 16 months in the nation's second most demanding job - "I promised I would make every decision on the merits."

"What arrogance," John Lindsay had scoffed. "Didn't I do that?" Bob Wagner had frowned. Koch, smiling about his predecessors, then explained. He has rebuilt New York's poverty programs, dissolving seven poverty corporations that had been power bases for a few. He junked summer job patronage with an open lottery. He appointed people "without respect for political affiliation."

At the end of the pleasant evening it wasn't so much what the New Yorker had said that was different. It was, as it should be, what he had done.

by Paul D. Mindus (Staff Reporter, Boston Herald American)